The 12 stories herein can of course be found in THE COMPLETE FATHER BROWN, and THE ANNOTATED INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN. This is the first Brown collection, which introduces not only Father Brown himself but Flambeau, the daring thief. Father Brown worked on Flambeau during their early confrontations, and eventually persuaded him to give up his life of crime. He became Father Brown's friend and sometime sidekick, and appears in three-quarters of the stories herein, in one capacity or another.
"The Blue Cross" - The great detective Valentin knows that Flambeau the thief has selected a little English priest as his target, since the priest has been entrusted with a valuable cross set with sapphires. But when Valentin begins tracking the priest across the city, a very odd pattern of incidents begins to emerge.
"The Secret Garden" - Father Brown is a dinner guest in Valentin's home.
"The Queer Feet" - 'The Twelve True Fishermen', meeting for their annual fish dinner at a small, exclusive restaurant, saw the usual count of waiters - but one had died hours before! Father Brown (called in earlier for the waiter's dying confession and last rites) unravels a spectacular caper.
"The Flying Stars" - Flambeau's last crime (as noted in the 1st paragraph of the story), cited as an example of his love of artistically matching settings with crimes. His confrontation with Father Brown resonates nicely with the preceding story's metaphor of Brown having him on a line like a fish.
"The Invisible Man" - Locked-room mystery. The inventor was found murdered in his flat, but witnesses say that nobody could have gone past them without being seen.
"The Honour of Israel Gow" - This story actually takes place *after* "The Wrong Shape". The Earl of Glengyle was a hermit - and after finding some very odd circumstances in the Earl's home after his death, Flambeau and Father Brown begin to fear that Satanism is involved.
"The Wrong Shape" - The writer was a bad husband and an unpleasant man, and the beautifully penned suicide note seemed almost too good to be true.
"The Sins of Prince Saradine" - Flambeau takes Father Brown along to collect on the prince's invitation, sent to him during his criminal career, to visit if he were to become respectable, since he greatly admired Flambeau's stunt of once arranging for one policeman to arrest another, when both were looking for *him*.
"The Hammer of God" - The last two Bohuns are the curate, who pursues the beauty of his church, and the colonel, who chases women. But if he managed to catch the blacksmith's wife, it may well have been the death of him.
"The Eye of Apollo" - Locked-room mystery. Father Brown came to visit Flambeau, who has taken an office in a new building. Pauline Stacey, a rich idealist in a neighbouring office, fell down the empty elevator shaft that same day - when nobody else, apparently, was in the building.
"The Sign of the Broken Sword" - Why has Father Brown taken Flambeau to every monument to the memory of the great general, finally ending here at his grave? "Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In a forest." Someone, unfortunately, once took that saying to heart.
"The Three Tools of Death" - With three weapons visible on the scene, why did the victim die by a fall from a window?